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Greetings! At Mesa Community College, student success and completion continues to be our number one priority. You have heard me say this over and over again during the past four years. That’s because our students deserve a strong educational path to success, particularly in this fast changing local and global economy. As alumni, I know you must be proud that MCC continuously ranks among the finest community colleges in the nation.
I want to update you on progress relative to one of our four strategic priorities: e-Learning. October 2nd and 3rd we welcomed a team from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association to our campus to begin the accreditation process that would allow MCC to offer online degrees and certificates. While MCC has offered online courses for many years, without approval from our accrediting agency, we are unable to offer this online degree option to our students.
The accreditation process is rigorous and thorough. We are fortunate to have Dr. Roger Yohe’s leadership as Dean of Innovative Learning. I have no doubt that his energy, commitment and experience will put MCC in the forefront of online learning.
The world of higher education is on the cusp of a significant revolution, spurred by competition from digital learning systems. Today’s students need flexible education options. There are more demands on their lives. Many students work. Many students have families. Dean Yohe says there are three reasons that online learning is becoming a significant option for students: “flexibility, flexibility, flexibility”. If flexibility is what many of our students need, then it is up to us to provide high-quality online education opportunities for them.
We face some challenges. All new efforts do. We know there is a significant gap between student retention online and the traditional face-to-face option. We are working on decreasing that gap.
Our long-term commitment to providing students with new learning options is one way of keeping our college forward thinking and our students successful. We will keep you informed as we build and grow MCC’s new online opportunities. You can also keep up with our progress at www.mesacc.edu/elearning.
Shouan Pan, Ph.D.